It's cloudy outside today and there's a bit of a nip in the wind. I adore the approaching thunder storm, that's one thing Africa knows how to do perfectly!
The rumble of thunder making it's way over the fields is another memory I hold dear. Sitting on the farm veranda under the fiber glass awning, smelling the approaching rain. The world becomes quiet and almost holds it's breath as it waits for the anointing fresh rain.
Mama would be down by the roses measuring out natural fertilizer to feed the greedy roses, which they would drink up to ensure a flush of magnificent blooms in time for Christmas. I would call out to her warning her the rain was coming and urging her to come away from the growling thunder. Only when the first splatters of rain placed diamond droplets in her hair did she come in and we would watch the magic of an African thunder storm.
Once the rain had gone as quickly as it had arrived, sunbeams would burst from the clouds and the garden would come alive. Birds would be fluttering around drying in the warm sun and the beetles would start their tremendous cacophony. Anyone born in Rhodesia would know the sound of Christmas beetles - they are almost deafening! They always arrived around November and would carol us into the Christmas season.
Mama always made her Christmas cakes in the first week of November. I have the ingredients ready and waiting in my pantry. Just waiting till I can turn the calender page over as if an unwritten rule gives me the thumbs up to make the Christmas cake.
The preparation for Christmas was filled with nutmeg smells and cinnamon flavours. Mama's Christmas list included buttery mince pies, all spice biscuits in angel shapes, mulled wine and Chrismassy Florentines, just to name a few. Tradition is tradition and Mama never faltered in preparing traditional Christmas eats and treats to hand out as gifts.
The next few blogs will be dedicated to the experience of Christmas in our Geddes farm house... First up, here is Mama's Christmassy chocolate-enrobed Florentines.
What you need:
- 40 grams butter
- 100 grams caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 100 mls cream
- 150 grams mixed dried fruit and nuts. Mama used flaked almonds, glace cherries, dried apricots and glace pineapple. Chop the fruit up into tiny bits.
- 30 grams of dark chocolate
- 30 grams milk chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon all spice
How to make:
- Melt the butter and sugar in a pan until a golden brown colour
- Add in the flour, spice, dried fruit & nut mix and add the cream - mix well
- Grease a muffin pan, use a teaspoon to measure out the correct amount per round. Pat down to flatten
- Bake for 15 minutes on 180 degrees, until golden brown
- Leave to cool for a few minutes before turning out of the muffin pan
- Melt the chocolate and dip one half of the Florentine in the dark chocolate and allow to set, then dip the other half in the other chocolate.
- All I can say is YUM!!!!
- Great to give as a gift too!